Immunocompromised British Columbians not yet offered 3rd COVID-19 vaccine dose
Organ transplant recipients and other immunocompromised Ontario residents are now being offered a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine. But so far, that’s not happening in B.C.
“I don’t understand what the government of British Columbia is waiting for,” said Stuart Zukerman who underwent a second kidney transplant two years ago.
The Surrey lawyer takes anti-rejection drugs that suppress his immune system, making his two doses of COVID-19 vaccine far less likely to provide protection against the virus.
“The third booster shot for the COVID-19 vaccine results in slightly over 70 per cent of transplant patients developing antibodies. So the third booster shot is a vital tool for transplant patients or anyone who is immunosuppressed,” said Zukerman.
University of British Columbia immunologist Dr. Kelly McNagny agrees. “I honestly don’t know what the hold up with that is,” he said.
“Now that we are reaching the level where everyone has had at least one or two doses of vaccine, or a high percentage, we really need to prioritize those people who are at risk. And immunocompromised transplant patients are the highest I would say,” said McNagny.
In a statement, the health ministry said “We are keeping an eye on any new evidence that could suggest the need for additional doses for specific circumstances, or the possible need for booster doses as a standard at some point in the future.”
“The B.C. government seems to be ignoring the situation or not addressing it as rapidly as they should be,” said Zukerman who believes it’s risky to leave transplant recipients and other immunocompromised British Columbians waiting any longer.
“The latest studies are showing the ideal timeline for the third booster shot is 28 days after your second booster shot. I’m already a month and a half from my second booster shot, and I’m sure there are other transplant patients in the same boat as me,” he said.
While he waits for another booster shot, Zukerman still isn’t going to grocery stores or restaurants, and wears a mask in public at all times.
“I do feel vulnerable,” he said.